a. Site of Infection. The dermatophytoses are subdivided according to sites of
(1) Ringworm of the scalp is common among children, but it does not
constitute a large number of the cases of dermatophytosis in military populations.
(2) Ringworm of the body is common among troops. The most frequently
affected area is the inner surfaces of the thighs in the groin area. This condition is
known as "jock itch" and is aggravated by heat, moisture, and friction. It is a particular
problem among troops who must make long marches in hot, humid weather.
(3) Ringworm of the foot ("athlete's foot") is another skin infection common
among military troops. It usually starts as itching and scaling between the toes and
progresses to painful cracks, blisters, and thickened dead skin. Secondary bacterial
infections may occur which are sometimes severe enough to immobilize the patient.
(4) Ringworm of the nails is usually a direct extension of an adjacent skin
infection resulting in the thickening and discoloration of the nail. Once acquired, these
infections are extremely difficult to eliminate. Systemic medicine is usually required.
b. Prevention and Treatment. Dermatophytosis is best prevented by strict
personal hygiene. Frequent bathing and washing of feet are the most beneficial
measures. Socks and underwear should be changed frequently and kept as dry as
possible. Issued foot powder should be sprinkled liberally in the shoes and socks and
rubbed onto the feet. Body powder may be used to help reduce friction in the groin area
and other areas where clothing fits snugly. Clothing should be worn as loosely as
possible to permit air circulation. Persons having minor skin irritations should report to
the aid station or troop clinic for medication before the condition becomes severe.
Scabies is an infectious disease of the skin caused by a mite, a small arachnid,
which burrows into the skin and reproduces. Infection is unnoticed at first, but after
several days intense itching begins, especially at night. Upon close examination, tiny
papules or burrows containing the mites and their eggs can be seen. Infection is most
common around the finger webs, belt line, external genitalia, and other places where
the skin is very tender. The parasites are transmitted primarily by direct contact, but
may also be transmitted by undergarments or soiled bedclothes freshly contaminated by
infected persons. Scabies is a disease usually associated with war, poverty, or social
upheaval. It is uncommon where bathing is frequent.